Cottage pie

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins


Serves 10

This great-value family favourite freezes beautifully and is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal600
  • fat34g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs40g
  • sugars7g
  • fibre4g
  • protein37g
  • salt1.15g
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  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1¼kg beef mince
  • 2 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 carrots, chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 3 celery sticks, chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • large glass red wine (optional)
  • 850ml beef stock
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • few thyme sprigs


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 2 bay leaves

For the mash

  • 1.8kg potatoes, chopped



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 225ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g strong cheddar, grated



    Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…

  • freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns. Put the rest of the oil into the pan, add the vegetables and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins. Add the garlic, flour and tomato purée, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan. Pour over the wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 mins. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 mins – if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.

  2. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk, butter, and three-quarters of the cheese, then season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper.

  3. Spoon meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden. Or follow the steps (below) to freeze.

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Comments (266)

tinkadall's picture

Fantastic recipe. It does take a bit of time - but well worth it. Be sure to make extra as the left overs are always so tasty the next day when the flavors have settled

sutty's picture

I have always thought that I didn't like cottage pie (I must have had a bad school dinner incident maybe!!??) but now I feel that the last 32 years have been lost, I loved it. I didn't have enough mince so I halved all the ingredients and it worked fine. I left out the celery as my boyfriend can't stand the stuff and added some tobasco sauce for a bit of a kick. It was gorgeous, so will certainly be making this again. I have a lot of catching up to do :-)

blindtony's picture

This is a fantastic recipe - I won't be using any other from now on. Nothing needs changing at all - the only thing I'd recommend is cooking it a couple of days before you need it then warming it through with foil over it - the flavours really develop - fabulous!!!

dishymummy's picture

I made this dish for a family get together and I was so pleased how it turned out. It tasted delicious and everyone cleared their plates!
I made the filling the evening before and followed the recipe with the exception of adding some soy sauce. I made the topping in advance on the day and again followed the recipe but added some chopped leeks cooked in butter (a la Delia). I then refrigerated until I was ready to heat in the oven. I served with peas.
I'd recommend making this dish in advance as it is does take time and generates quite a bit of washing up! The end result is very good and I will definitely make this again.

malson's picture

Was okay. Very easy to cook. Added more seasoning and found it to be slightly "sweetish" - for want of a better word. would try again and adjust the vegetable ratios.

maginly's picture

All smelt lovely and tasted gorgeous, sadly when I put it in the dish to cook in oven, it just refused to heat up. Ended up having it in there for nearly an hour. Might have the been the dish I used! Hubby ate it all he loved it!

joanneeland's picture

This recipe is absolutely delicious. I made it tonight again for St Patrick's Day and made champ for the topping. It's sooooooo gooooood. I'm entertaining friends tonight with it! MAKE IT!

biffa1954's picture

Followed the instructions of this very easy resipe, I made two huge pies from the ingredients ate one and froze the other. I served it with extra steamed vegetables and a nice thick onion gravy.

merrysee's picture

Delicious. Made this last night as we had family over, everybody had second helpings, the meat sauce was lovely and thick, & very flavoursome! Added the wine and reduced which gave it a more grown up feel. Great recipe for feeding a crowd.

dangerwank's picture

I love this recipe and have made it many times!
My fiancee said cottage pie was her favourite meal (comfort food) so i looked for a recipe. This one looked good despite taking longer than others to make. But it's worth every minute as it is the best cottage pie i've ever had (complimenting the recipe rather than my own cooking abilities there). Never look for another recipe again.

keenoyt's picture

great recipe only thing i added wss more flour to thicken the gravy up as it was a big too runny, does take a long time but hopefully it will be a hit for dinner tonight :)

zdickinson's picture

Does take a long time to make - but well worth it :). I grated some swede into mine to get some more veg into 2 fussy kids. I also added some sweet potatoes in the mash. Delicious.

suzehar's picture

Gorgeous! More effort to make than some cottage pies but definitely worth it! I tend to make a big batch & then freeze the mixture - it's then a really easy meal as you just need to make some mash. Highly recommend!

amylarkin's picture

Wow this is great my boyfriend doesn't really like mince but he loved this, its a bit long winded but well worth it.

kayjade's picture

This is one of the best cottage pie recipes, family loved it, very tasty. Halved the ingredients and didn't put in the celery.

nbryan's picture

best cottage pie recipe I've found.

i05wahan's picture

This is really good with some cinnamon in it, although I found it a little wet, but maybe I just didn't reduce it for long enough.

louloubelle22's picture

Really lovely Cottage Pie recipe. I added some leeks to my mash and sprinkled the top with cheese. Didn't use any celery (food of the devil) but it was still gorgeous. It does take time but I made a big batch and froze some down.

Epicurious foodie's picture

The prep for this takes a while chopping all the vegtables but the taste is lovey and the thyme gives it a real depth of flavour. I found that the meat sauce was thick enough after about 25 mins of simmering.another great recipie- thanks!

devaodoherty's picture

I've made this a few times now and love it. I divide everything in 3 so there's enough for my husband and I and one leftover portion that we fight over for lunch! With the smaller portion I find it only takes 30 mins for the sauce to thicken. Definitely makes the "to-be-made-again" list!


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